Vodafone unveils WiFi hotspot dongle

Accepting that WiFi is becoming integrated into more devices, Vodafone has launched a mobile WiFi device that enables five users to connect other WiFi-enabled devices to the Internet through a mobile HSDPA broadband connection.

Vodafone said that the device had been launched to support the increasing number of mobile phones, laptops, tablet PCs and music players requiring access to WiFi to get online. "The R201 is ideal as it supports five users and the connection can be shared."

"Because it can run using a battery or be plugged in, it gives more flexibility than a mobile dongle and, although we don't see this as replacing mobile dongles, the flexibility will make it an attractive offering for many customers," said a company spokesman.

The battery-powered 'Vodafone Mobile Wi-Fi R201' has a screen which displays battery life together with information about the strength of the cellular signal. The unit provides download speeds up to 7.2Mbps and 5.76Mbps on the uplink, according to the firm, and can support MicroSD cards of up to 32MB.

The device is similar to 3's MiFi product (the Huawei E5) which the firm launched around a year ago.

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Related stories:
EU accuses Chinese dongle vendors of dumping
3 prepares to launch Wi-Fi femtocell
3G data networks being saved by WiFi
Smartphones drive Wi-Fi hotspot growth

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